Monday, February 3, 2014

Frugal Foodie on a British Pound: Pea Green

Winter is not the most pleasant of seasons, particularly in damp climes. There is often a bone-chilling cold, enhanced by the wind and rain, that is hard to shake. The days lend themselves best to curling up in a large armchair with a book and mug of tea. And here we come to the primary motive behind today's post: soup. A nice warm and hearty soup is key to making it through a winter.

Embracing my present British surroundings, I really had no other option but to make a split pea soup. A dish dating back at least to the Middle Ages, "pease porridge" (traditionally cooked with salted bacon) served as a staple for the English peasantry. In later centuries, different varieties of peas (specifically fresh garden peas) actually became delicacies, one made its way into a famous fairy tale, and they even formed the basis of our path down the study of genetics. And yet the peas themselves, one of the earliest cultivated food crops, probably originated on the Asian continent as many as nine millenia ago! Ancient Romans and Greeks already discovered the humble pea's utility in soup, and others in the Mediterranean dressed it up in pastry. But coming back to the English peasant class, peas were inexpensive and made a satisfying and nutritious meal the poor could afford. Perfect for my own status as frugal foodie on the pound sterling!

Pea Green Winter Soup
3/4 cup green split peas, dry, soaked overnight
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup green cabbage or kale, chopped
1 apple, chopped
1 tbs olive oil
5 cups water (or vegetable stock)
2 tbs curry powder
Salt to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Sautee onions until they start to turn translucent, and then add garlic. Continue to cook until fragrant and just starting to brown. Add water.
2. Bring water to a boil and throw in the soaked peas. Cover and simmer on medium heat for 15-20 minutes, until tender or just under. Add cabbage, salt, and curry powder to the pot and continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes. Toss in apple and leave uncovered on the heat for 5 minutes.
3. Remove from heat. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then using a hand blender, puree until smooth. Serve warm on a cold winter day!

More tasty treats on Wellness Weekend. Also, 101 Cookbooks and Meatless Monday both have tasty Split Pea Soup recipes to try out!

Photo courtesy of Nora's Little Nook.

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